Good News

Mammoth DNA could save elephants from extinction

Genetic researchers at Harvard University have merged the DNA of an ancient woolly mammoth with those of an elephant's genetic code, making it possible for the ancient beast's genes to live on in the elephants of today.

Headed by professor of genetics at Harvard University, George Church, the team of researchers applied a new technique that let them make precise edits to 14 cells of the elephant's DNA. This allowed them to insert genes for smaller ears, furriness, cold-tolerant blood hemoglobin genes and extra fat beneath skin -- which differentiate mammoths from elephants -- into the latter's genetic code.

Columbian Mammoth
Columbian Mammoth by Carl Buell

Mammoths, whose closest relative are the Asian elephant, have been extinct for more than 3,000 years. But found preserved under permafrost in the Arctic Ocean, scientists were able to extract genes for use in this experiment from frozen mammoths.

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